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Hello from Kansas City

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Hello from Kansas City

Post  landarch on 1/26/2012, 1:08 am

New in Kansas City - I am getting ready for my second season of square foot gardening and about ready to do my first spring garden (Zone 5b)... currently studying some info from Kansas State University Extension Service about space planning (spring/fall double crops vs summer crops), companion planting, trellis construction for watermelon and cucumbers, soil amendments, etc.

I am a Registered Landscape Architect and an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer.

Any suggestions for crop planning? Layout?
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landarch

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  Chopper on 1/26/2012, 1:26 am

I assume you read the book? If not, be sure to. I only mention it because it does address most of your questions.

For instance, unless your compost is subpar, you should not need soil amendments. But either way, welcome. Smile Smile

As far as trellises, I was pretty happy with PVC pipe, nylon netting and U-bar fencing. No tools needed except a hammer to get the fence post in. And the netting and pipe proved plenty strong for watermelons and winter squash.

My only recommendation planting wise is tall on the north side, short in front. LOL. But that I imagine you already knew.

Last month I planted my spring garden. Unfortunately I only have one 4X4 and now I have to wait until I have a square free to put in any summer veggies. Not sure what you were asking, ( 'currently studying some info from Kansas State University Extension
Service about space planning (spring/fall double crops vs summer crops'
)but I would make sure you save some squares to be ready to go for early summer planting.

SFG being what it is, I would not fuss too much about companion planting unless there are some true enemies that obviously and negatively effect each others growth. But, that is up to you. Look forward to maybe seeing some pitures when you are getting some harvest? I think it is possible I am a garden picture junkie.

Chopper

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  landarch on 1/26/2012, 2:56 am

I have not read the book...just taking a shot with the limited space and sunshine. I am slowly amending my soil as it is clay loam (on the heavier side)...coffee grounds, vegetable compost, decomposed leaf litter, etc. I plan to add two more beds this year and purchase a few yards of sandy loam.

I am interested in companion planting for pest control...(tomatoes, cucumbers)...had bacterial wilt problems last year on the cucumbers.

I am also learning about space planning for spring, summer, and fall plantings (early harvest, early carryovers, summer, and fall crops).

I have several 4'x8' plots, but do not subdivide in to square foot plots. I do mass plantings of summer crops (cucumbers, bush beans, peppers, tomatoes) then look how to plan spring and fall around that (early harvest lettuce, radish, spinach and carryover peas, chard, and double cropping cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beets, onion, carrot. It's like a puzzle, especially considering crop rotation.

I need to post some of my planning diagrams for review...maybe some pics from last year's effort. For example, instead of doing beets in a square foot, I plant an 18" band along the entire 4x8 perimeter with lettuce, radish, and spinach in the middle. When the lettuce, spinach, and radish are harvested, tomatoes are ready to go in. The beets around the edge are ready to harvest when the tomatoes are just starting to get big.
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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 1/26/2012, 6:09 pm

Hi landarch!

It sounds like you aren't doing a true SFG yet, but with your interests I'll bet you will be soon! Smile While the forum is here mainly to discuss aspects of true SFGs, we do have an area where we talk about non-SFG. Smile It sounds like so much of what you are already doing could become SFG very easily and save you work, time and money. More good eats from less space with fewer amendments. Smile

You may want to check out a copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew from your local library. It's an easy read and it solves so many of the issues you are expressing! Smile It utilizes raised beds with what we call Mel's Mix which is a mixture of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss. The beds are then divided by grids of some kind, and planting is done by the square foot. Your compost would be invaluable. Mel also discovered that we don't need to till and amend, we can grow most vegetables in 6" of this stuff! Smile We can even raise them up to a workable level for us if we want to. Smile

Pest control is easier too, because certain crops can be covered to protect them very easily, and pests are more easily identified and handled. Plantings and harvests can be easily staggered and with your love for the "puzzle" of what goes together, I think SFG would be a perfect fit! Mel has some awesome charts in the back of the book that show how to stagger plantings for spring and fall and continuous harvest... Makes it easy for newbies like me who are still trying to learn about growing good eats!

Look forward to seeing your pictures! If you do post them, be sure to post them in the non-SFG thread, or our moderators may move them there for you. Smile

Looking forward to a great season! glad you\'re here


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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  Chopper on 1/26/2012, 6:17 pm

@landarch wrote:New in Kansas City - I am getting ready for my second season of square foot gardening and about ready to do my first spring garden (Zone 5b)... currently studying some info from Kansas State University Extension Service about space planning (spring/fall double crops vs summer crops), companion planting, trellis construction for watermelon and cucumbers, soil amendments, etc.


Any suggestions for crop planning? Layout?

All are welcome but let me clue you in. You are working too hard. LOL. Save your compost materials for the compost pile. Forget your God (or builder) given dirt and embrace Mel's Mix. It will ultimately save you time and effort. DO NOT AMEND YOUR CURRENT SOIL. It is a waste of time - it is soooo last 50 centuries. Smile

Come to the light side. Do not try to swim upstream. Hehe. Cannot think of more metaphors. Anyway. You are here. You have found us. Embrace the MM and the grids and you will be happier for it - and will find gardening a pure joy with half (or less) of the work. I promise. Read the book.

Chopper

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  landarch on 1/26/2012, 7:12 pm

The reason I haven't done grids yet is that I only have 4'x8' raised beds and when the summer garden goes in one entire bed gets peppers and one entire bed gets tomatoes...no need for separating individual plants from each other. I still get the benefits of watering efficiency and weeds don't have a chance...you are probably correct...not a true SFG...but not row cropping either. I can see how grids may be useful in the spring and fall when more varieties are grown...and when sowing at different time intervals.

I need to break down and buy the book.
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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 1/26/2012, 7:57 pm

@landarch wrote:
I need to break down and buy the book.


I think you will really be interested in some of the methods that forum members use beyond just planting one bed with the same crop. They plant different plants in the same bed with the grids and that takes care of companion planting, crop rotation, tall and short plants getting adequate sun/shade (depending on where you place them), etc. There are several garden plans posted from years past that might give you some ideas as to how creative they are when planting. Also check out the hoop houses and tulle covers for pests... Mel loves to use repurposed, free, and inexpensive materials and some of the members have come up with some pretty neat ways to tend their garden for not much money at all. Smile

Be sure to check out this thread because if you want to be sure to have success with more produce, less effort, and less financial output, one of the key factors is Mel's Mix: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

The forum is littered with the bleached bones of those of us who tried to "make do" with less than Mel indicates, and sparkles with the beautiful pictures of abundant gardens with which members who gave the effort to get their mix right the first time, were blessed. Smile You have one of the key components going already, and that's the compost! Smile
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UnderTheBlackWalnut

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  landarch on 1/26/2012, 8:59 pm

Thanks for the link...valuable info. I think my soil is pretty close to The Mix...I have worked in cow manure, chicken manure, food waste, shredded yard waste, bales of peat, and large bags of coffee grounds...looks like I am only missing vermiculite.

I just made a trip to the library to check out the original SFG book...the new one is in high demand.
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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  Chopper on 1/26/2012, 9:13 pm

@landarch wrote:

I just made a trip to the library to check out the original SFG book...the new one is in high demand.

I really really hate to do this LOL but I highly recommend the new book. It is very different. It takes the original method and simplifies it and improves it 100%. You will not regret it. Resistance if futile.....

Chopper

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 1/26/2012, 10:08 pm

+1 Chopper - You need the new book... Smile - I had both and the old one is nothing like the new one... The new one is TONS easier... Smile
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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  Windsor.Parker on 2/23/2012, 10:25 pm

@landarch wrote:... I think my soil is pretty close to The Mix...I have worked in cow manure, chicken manure, food waste, shredded yard waste, bales of peat, and large bags of coffee grounds...looks like I am only missing vermiculite. ...

Like you, I've been working to improve my garden soil for the last 4-5 years. I've realized that my proportions are probably considerably different than those of MM. So I blended a batch of MM, then went to the garden and gathered a similar amount of LM (Lee's Mix) from around the garden, and made a cursory comparison. Here's some of what I discovered:
LM is most likely less consistent than MM.
LM is over 2 times heavier than MM.
LM compacts much more than MM when wet.
LM dries out more quickly than MM.
LM is more difficult to clean up than MM.

The bottom line for me is that LM is more difficult to work with than MM.

I'll be converting from LM to all MM over the next few years.
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Windsor.Parker

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

Post  CindiLou on 2/24/2012, 12:40 am

Now is this KC MO or KC Kansas? Sister in law from KC Kan and I made mistake of sayin Mo..dont wanna repeat that! Lol they live in Kansas City Kansas I was informed quite quickly and plainly lol
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CindiLou

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Re: Hello from Kansas City

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